Sam, Paul and teachers in front of the new fence
To our followers and supporters,
The return of our travelers in July marks the end of a third successful year of The EDGE Project partnering with Lingira Island. Though the group was much smaller this year, (three people,) they were able to do a lot of wonderful work implementing this years projects, while monitoring the success of past years’ projects. Karla, Sam, and Paul send greetings from the island to all of our friends and supporters everywhere!
Over the course of the team’s five-week trip, EDGE was able to make progress on several primary projects, mostly with the secondary school. The first and largest was bringing resources to the secondary school that were required to start a demonstration garden. This meant building the fence itself, out of materials able to withstand hungry cattle, which easily occupied the travelers and two hired workers for two weeks. We hope for the garden to help feed the school, teach the community, and give a sort of productive outlet for children. Thus, in leaving island, we arranged for an energetic Ugandan man to educate and lead the garden up through planting. We know that the students and teachers are excited to have a new “classroom” and will do their best to tend “the greenest garden in Uganda.” To our delight, we have already received news that they tilled the full acre and that the garden work is becoming a regular part of life at school!
Another exciting development in EDGE’s work on the island deals with some Ugandan-based organizations. We invited our friends from AGYA (Amagezi Gemaanyi Youth Association) to provide a creative, fun-filled weekend for the secondary school boys and girls. Dance, rap, poetry and drawing filled the kids’ day, allowing them to express themselves through previously unimagined outlets. Life at school and on the island is monotonous and starkly boring and the students were much more open after the experience. The day ended with a group sexual education and HIV/AIDS awareness discussion lead by the leaders of AGYA. This was to answer recently inflamed concerns about HIV/AIDS rates, which are ghastly high. Because of the success of this creative development weekend, EDGE and AGYA are currently working out a sustainable partnership that will bring them to Lingira on a more regular basis. We have also been inspired to pursue approaches to development that work to change the world view of both kids and adults, to help them view themselves for their place in the world.
Another facet of approaching the plethora of societal problems, that plague women and girls is educating the populous on their human, civil, women’s, or children’s rights. With the help of WORI (Women’s Rights Initiative) based in Jinja, EDGE will be conducting civil rights awareness campaigns for women, men and children in all areas of Lingira. The end goal is to challenge peoples’ idea of family and community roles by teaching both of the sexes across all ages. Like many others, we’ve seen that a solution to gender inequality can’t happen only through women (though we will continue such projects!). Men are as much a problem as they are a potential solution and we hope to begin researching an array of methodologies to lift up both men and women.
A coincidental reflection on that philosophy comes as we welcome a new leadership committee, which is a diverse blend of culture and sex. We’re looking forward to another year of learning and building. And, in fact, we’ve already begun to outline where we’ll be taking research this year and what goals we will be targeting for the island. Check back for more updates! And we and Lingira thank you many times over for your continued support of our work.